Tag Archives: too much

Passage through the Opposites: Stephanie Barnes’ Reconciliation Painting

The following essay was written about my art by an art critic who reviewed my work here in Berlin. The critic wishes to remain anonymous.


I long to be heard.

Words and pictures; not words or pictures.

I long to be whole, not half.

My struggle is to be…


                        –Stephanie Barnes

In 2014, the year that Germany celebrated its 25th anniversary of reconciliation, Stephanie Barnes knew in a single instant that she was going to move to Berlin. In this AHA moment, she was united between her fated pathways of opposites, as a twin born under the sign of Gemini, seeking reconciliation in her art.

“In December, it was a feeling of being home, even though I was standing in a kitchen filled with someone else’s belongings, and only two suitcases of my own with me,” she recalls of her visit to Berlin, just a month after the reconciliation celebration. “The other moment, in February 2015, it was feeling homesick for Berlin after being away for 2 days, on a 16-day business trip.”

The artist being at home in a city representing division and reconciliation for the world comes with a feeling of wholeness and integration. Barnes sees a parallel between her emotions expressed in painting and that of the German nation. This inner/outer composition between her inner feeling of reconciliation and the external reconciliation in her new environment is a theme working its way through her art.

“In Germany and in Berlin, the reconciliation is between east/west, communism/capitalism, homogeneity/diversity–­the group versus the individual,” Barnes muses. “On the personal level, the reconciliation is between left and right brain, knowledge management and creativity, business and art, standing up for myself and belonging.”

For Barnes, the journey to integration extends from her birthright as a twin born under the Gemini sign of the Twins. “Who am I?” is the question she asks, and seeks to answer, with her painting. Her passage between the opposites as businesswoman and artist has led to the discovery of a language to access the energy built up from the tension of balancing life in the corporate world with her life in art.

Paradoxically, the process of working the image through this eternal question of identity has brought her into a rediscovery of words: “The integration and reconciliation of my logical business half and the creative, painting, artistic half is my own. I am not half a person, I am not only business/knowledge management/process; I am not only a creative/painter/artist. I am not half a twin. I am a whole in a set of twins.”

Yet, she sums up her passage of reconciliation through the opposites that is her birthright with a single word: JOY.

Too Much

I started a new piece today, after taking a break for a few weeks; I NEEDED to paint TODAY.

As I started my latest creation, which in actual fact is 4  8″ by 8″ panels, I thought about my idea, blobs of acrylic paint mixed with molding paste, 6 different colours. This was something different than what I have been doing, and was inspired by a few different things that I have been looking at over the last few weeks.

I am usually all about big, big gestures, big loops of fluid paint or strokes with a big paint brush. Bigger is better, more is better. This was very methodical and rhythmical, and tedious as I created, yet I held firm to the idea that I had for this piece, thinking about what ties it to the rest of my practice.

It wasn’t spontaneous, like my earlier works, yet it definitely has a flow to it.

It was, however, TOO MUCH….too much, that’s what ties it together with my other pieces, I like a lot of paint, paint that takes days to dry, paint that drips and puddles and oozes. This doesn’t puddle and oozes, but it is too much: big globs of paint, messy, irregularly formed blobs of paint. It makes me smile just typing the words.

I am too much, at least that’s what I have believed about myself for a long time: too loud, too opinionated, too smart, too overwhelming, too much to handle, too much, and too many (there were after-all two of me (I’m an identical twin)).


I’m not really, I’m perfectly imperfect, like everyone else. I am the most perfect one of me there is, and there is only one, not two, despite being an identical twin.

The idea of too much, informs my art practice…too much paint…too much movement…too much energy…too much…except it’s not too much, it’s JOYFUL energy exploding all over the canvas and I can’t have enough joy, can you?


Running out of Too Much (work in progress)

Running out of Too Much (work in progress)

Running out of Too Much, completed

Running out of Too Much, completed